Encyclopedia of Systems and Control

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Underactuated Marine Control Systems

  • Kristin Y. PettersenEmail author
Living reference work entry

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4471-5102-9_125-3


For underactuated marine vessels, the dimension of the configuration space exceeds that of the control input space. This article describes underactuated marine vessels and the control challenges they pose. In particular, there are two main approaches to design control systems for underactuated marine vessels. The first approach reduces the number of degrees of freedom (DOF) that it seeks to control such that the number of DOF equals the number of independent control inputs. The control problem is then a fully actuated control problem – something that simplifies the control design problem significantly – but special attention then has to be given to the inherent internal dynamics that has to be carefully analyzed. The other approach to design control systems for underactuated marine vessels seeks to control all DOF using only the limited number of control inputs available. The control problem is then an underactuated control problem and is quite challenging to solve. In this article, it is shown how line-of-sight methods can solve the underactuated control problems that arise from path following and maneuvering control of underactuated marine vessels.


Marine vessels Underactuated marine control problems Underactuated marine vessels Underactuation 
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© Springer-Verlag London Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Engineering CyberneticsNorwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU)TrondheimNorway

Section editors and affiliations

  • Kristin Y. Pettersen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Engineering CyberneticsNTNU Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyTrondheimNorway